Jared Kushner arrives at an event

Newsweek Has the Absolute Nerve to Compare Jared Kushner to Bobby Kennedy

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In a sprawling, fawning new profileNewsweek spent about 5,000 words to try to make Jared Kushner look like a swell guy. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it was not successful.

Here are just a handful of the wild things that came up while detailing what was supposed to be read as Kushner’s wide-raging accomplishments:

Kushner defends the Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman despite his alleged role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Kushner implies that Khashoggi’s death is just one of a number of “missteps” MBS has made.

His Middle East peace plan was a total failure (despite having read 25 whole books to prepare) but hey, at least “the president’s political base is thrilled with how we’ve handled this so far.”

The reporter, Bill Powell, writes off the indignation Kushner saw when he was appointed to work full-time on the COVID-19 task force as “standard jealousy.”

Kushner points out that Kirstjen Nielsen failed in getting Donald Trump’s goddamn wall built but by the end of the year, they’re looking to have erected 450 miles, because Kushner, who has no actual principles but enjoys seeing results, is genuinely proud to be more effective on immigration that the woman who spearheaded the kids-in-cages program.

But the weirdest part of the whole profile is when Powell makes a comparison between Jared Kushner and Robert Kennedy.

Powell’s comparison, which he writes is “not a stretch”–a defensive declaration that only serves to highlight what an incredible stretch that statement is–is based primarily on him being an “influential presidential relative.”

Here’s what Powell has to say:

When the history of Donald Trump’s tumultuous time in the White House is written—and that may be sooner than later—it will show one thing for certain: His most influential adviser, by far, was Jared Kushner. Now 39, Kushner has been a de facto chief of staff, influencing the hiring and firing senior White House aides; an important architect of Trump’s foreign policy, including the map of the Mideast and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement; he became a key member of the coronavirus task force; the prime force behind initiatives like criminal justice reform; and now, increasingly, a critical adviser to a struggling re-election campaign. He is, in fact, the most influential presidential relative—first ladies aside—since Robert F. Kennedy served as attorney general for his brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Powell also says that both men were/are “portrayed by much of the press as an entitled rich guy who lacks the proper experience for the job he’s been given, who got to where he is only because of nepotism” and at least he notes that “Kushner differs far more from Trump than the intense RFK did from his elder brother, known more for his cool reserve,” which is a hell of an understatement in terms of Trump’s temperament.

But this comparison is not just ludicrous, it’s totally insulting.

Kennedy was a progressive icon running for President on a platform of hope and civil rights when he was assassinated. Jared Kushner is … Jared Kushner.

Kennedy’s death came just two months after that of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, which was, as CNN wrote in a recent profile of RFK’s legacy, “a year marked by angry demonstrations, political violence, and a degree of polarization that foreshadowed the stark divisions of our own time.” Jared Kushner is aiding Trump in increasing those divisions, quashing civil liberties, and attacking protesters.

Jared Kushner doesn’t deserve to be even superficially compared to Bobby Kennedy.

(via Newsweek, image: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.